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Hot springs and Bamboo Forests...

NSW, Australia
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8 posts
16 reviews
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Hot springs and Bamboo Forests...

I'm traveling with a few friends (all girls) to Japan next month, and we would like to (at the very least) sit in a hot spring (onsen), sleep in a ryokan and stand in a bamboo forrest. Perhaps one with monkeys?!

The rough itinerary so far is Tokyo for 4 nights, Kyoto for 2 and Osaka for 3, and we're on a low-ish budget.

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

Illinois
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for Chicago, Illinois
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1. Re: Hot springs and Bamboo Forests...

Arashiyama would be a good option - http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e3912.html

Ryokan information - http://www.japaneseguesthouses.com/index.htm

Please type in Onsen in the search box. Numerous posts to review.

Edited: 20 February 2010, 12:38
Nashville, TN
Destination Expert
for Himeji, Kobe, Osaka
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2. Re: Hot springs and Bamboo Forests...

There's no real need to stay in both Kyoto and Osaka; the cities are an hour apart, and my suggestion for a short trip is to pick one or the other and stay there.

My favorite onsen is Kinosaki about 2 hours from Kyoto on the Japan Sea coast. It's easy to combine a night there with a trip to Himeji. An itinerary would be to go to Himeji in the morning, visiting the castle and Kokoen (garden) and then head to Kinosaki in the early afternoon, arriving while it's still daylight and the shops are open. Find a decent ryokan near the river (that's the main onsen area; some ryokan are far away) and visit the shops that afternoon after checking in to your inn. In Kinosaki there are 7 baths to visit all more or less between the rail station and the cable car station to the mountain-top temple. Your inn will give you tickets to the baths as well as a kimono and Japanese sandals (geta) to wear around. So you'll check into your inn, put on your kimono (not the full, fancy kimono, but a more light, easy-to-take-off style), and then walk around town, visiting shops and baths as you see fit. Go back to your inn, eat the provided dinner in your room, and then go out and hit some more baths (or the one in your inn). When you return your futons will be laid out and ready for you to go to sleep (which is very easy after so many hot baths). It'll be good and cool outside that evening and I really like the Kinosaki experience. The next morning visit the temple (where regular clothes; easier to wlk around in and you might decide to walk down from the temple), get an egg boiled in onsen water, perhaps visit another bath or two, check out of your inn, and then head to Kyoto.

Another cool area near Osaka is Mt. Koya; they have a selection of shukubo, which are temple-run inns serving vegetarian food. It's a pretty cool experience if you have the time. There are shukubo in other parts of Japan as well, so you might look that up and see what options you have.

Yet another cool place is Shirakawa-go, a traditional village in central Japan.

You won't get in all three of these, but look them up and see if you can manage at least one for a unique experience.

In addition to this site, here are a couple of links with good information; particularly look up festivals and see what might be going on while you're in Japan (a festival is a really cool experience):

www.japan-guide.com

www.jnto.go.jp

www.hyperdia.com

Good luck!

John W.

NSW, Australia
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8 posts
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3. Re: Hot springs and Bamboo Forests...

What a wealth of information! Thank you both so much!!

Oita
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4. Re: Hot springs and Bamboo Forests...

Good place to go could be Beppu, 4,5h by train from Osaka. There is a plenty options how to treat yourself ... onsens, mud onsens, sand baths, steam baths, etc. What's more the Beppu city is famous for bamboo crafts and they have national park full of mankeys - Mt. takasakiyama ....

you can check this blog for some photoes

photoblog.com/aldebaran66/2009/05/05/cindy-b…

Palo Alto...
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5. Re: Hot springs and Bamboo Forests...

The Kibune / Kurama area is just outside the northern border of Kyoto City. It's not as big as Kinosaki, but lot more accessible.

http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e3933.html

www.secret-japan.com/forum/viewtopic.php…

6. Re: Hot springs and Bamboo Forests...

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